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Shah Rukh Khan turned 51 today but he is as fit and charming as a 25-year-old, he is still a darling of Indian women and ruling the box office from last 25 years along with the other two Khans, Aamir and Salman. Media has given him many names over the years be it King of romance, Badshah of Bollywood or King Khan but the thing about him which is certain that he is one of the most popular superstars ever to grace Indian Cinema. He has given many Blockbusters, Super Hits and hits in his career, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge being the most popular one among them which ran over 1000 weeks at a Mumbai’s single screen, Maratha Mandir. On the eve of his 51st birthday, I thought to pick out his five best films and you’ll be surprised to know that DDLJ and most of his other Dharma, YRF blockbusters failed to make the cut. I have picked five supreme work of art which SRK himself, cinema lovers and Bollywood will always be proud of.
1. Swades (2004)
This is one film which came at the time when SRK was the synonym of success, he worked in Big Budget commercial films and made those huge hits, be it Main Hoon Naa, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Veer Zaara to name a few. Salman was giving flops and Aamir was on a self-imposed break from films, SRK meant everything to Bollywood in that period. Swades was the film which was not a typical SRK family entertainer, Ashutosh Gowariker came back after the historical Lagaan and that too with SRK. People expected drama and larger than life entertainment from the movie like Veer Zaara or Main hoon naa but the movie was something else. The film failed at the box office but certainly, it is the best work of art I feel SRK has done in his whole career so far, not to forget his subtle yet powerful portrayal of Mohan Bhargav, a scientist in NASA from India, is by far one of the best performances he has ever churned. The moving story of Brain drain is something which every Indian can relate to and yes who can forget the songs and the impactful BGM of A.R. Rahman. This film is a must watch, if you haven’t seen it yet, today is the best day to pick it’s DVD up.
2. Dil se.. (1998)
There are how many films where the likes of Mani Ratnam, Shekhar Kapoor, and Ram Gopal Verma has worked together, your answer will be just one and that’s Dil se. Yes, it is the only film where these three master film makers came together as the producer. This Mani Ratnam directed movie is also considered as a cult classic like Swades and unfortunately failed at the Indian box office too because of its complex and classy screenplay though it was a massive success in overseas like most of the other SRK films. His performance as Amarkant Verma was a treat to watch which was ably partnered by the riveting performance of Manisha Koirala and the fresh charm of Preity Zinta. The story of a man who falls in love with a terrorist, who loves his country and the girl equally and proves both facets of his love by sacrificing his life is heart-wrenching and memorable. Everything about the film is top notch, Santosh Sivan’s cinematography or Ratnam’s direction every department is perfect to the T. And the music album of this film is arguably Rahman’s best work so far, whether its Chaiyya Chaiyya or Satrangi or Ae Ajnabee or the title track, no music lover can forget these songs. And if you are still waiting to watch this film then end your wait as soon as possible.
3. Chak De India (2007)
This is the only SRK-YRF film which I have included in the list, Shimit Amin directed venture is a brilliant story which explores religious bigotry, the legacy of the partition of India, ethnic and regional prejudice and sexism in contemporary India which is nicely woven into the plot of women’s Hockey and the redemption of a blacklisted ex-Hockey player who was once termed as traitor. SRK as coach Kabir Khan delivered one of the best mainstream performances of the 2000s, what I really liked about the film was that the women who acted, you know, who are part of the team, each one of them got a chance. Their personality, their characters, were also very well-written. It emerged as a huge commercial and critical blockbuster which it richly deserved.
4. Paheli (2005)
A film like this proves that we don’t need to seek inspiration from Hollywood when the Indian literature is rich enough to provide us with captivating stories. India is never good in making fantasy films and folklore but Paheli I feel is up there as the finest fantasy films of the country. Amol Palekar has crafted a delectable fairy tale that is incredibly well-shot. Ravi K Chandran’s cinematography is spellbinding as he casts us into the fabulous landscapes of Rajasthan with fluid harmony. Each frame of the film is picture-perfect, marinated in intoxicating color. SRK mints a flawless performance in the double role as Kisan, a dumb Rajasthani Merchant and as a charming Marwari speaking Ghost. Rani Mukherji is also in her best form while Amitabh Bachchan pops in with a memorable cameo. Though it was a box office failure but was sent as the official entry to the Oscars beating the likes of Ketan Mehta’s Mangal Pandey: The Rising and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black.
5. Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994)
This is one of the rare mainstream Hindi movies in which the hero plays the role of a loser. It is widely considered to be one of Shah Rukh Khan’s best performances, he as a boy next door Sunil is adorable, honest and cute. The message of moving on whether something good happens or bad in life is effectively depicted by director Kundan Shah. This is a must watch film for every youngster of the country. A success at the box office which SRK himself once picked as his favorite film.
We wish the global star a very happy birthday and his next films, Dear Zindagi and Raees going by the teasers are looking something to watch out for. He has seen all the ups and downs in his career but always moved on without any regret because ‘Wo to hai albela hazaaro mey akela’.